I am conducting an independent research on a tourism-related topic. However, data sets on the internet require premium registration.

I was wondering: what are the best websites that offer data sets for free? Can experienced researchers give any good leads?

  • 3
    Consider Open Data StackExchange Apr 19, 2020 at 0:33
  • This feels a bit backwards, actually. Are you seeking data before you formulate hypotheses?
    – Buffy
    Apr 19, 2020 at 13:09
  • 1
    @Buffy I don't think that is necessarily backwards. What would be backwards would be examining the data before formulating a hypothesis, not obtaining the data. The problem with formulating the hypothesis before finding the data is that there may be no good data testing that particular hypothesis. Apr 19, 2020 at 14:09
  • The question A database of open databases? over on OpenData.SE seems like a useful resource.
    – Anyon
    Apr 19, 2020 at 18:28

3 Answers 3


First - looking for already published research projects that contain and/or utilize datasets similar to what your project requires might be a good start. There are some researchers and research groups that wouldn't have any issues sharing their dataset with you if you provide them with a good enough reason as to why you need it and what you're going to use it for.

That being said, because of privacy and data protection laws; it greatly depends on how they acquired the data in the first place and whether or not there is personally identifiable information within the dataset. If you don't do this right, you can get into quite a lot of trouble.

There are also a number of sites that supply anything from large national and international gov datasets to the more modest limited access sites.

Most U.S. government agencies provide open access to a large portion of their data.

The FBI's web services Data.gov The CDC The US Census Bureau ... the list goes on.

Kaggle is often talked about BuzzFeed, surprisingly, provides a vast array of open information data.world ... to name a few.

You may also wish to contact universities and college departments. The often work with massive datasets and are quite liberal when it comes to sharing.

Good luck :)


It's impossible to give a definitive answer without knowing your dataset needs. Do the datasets also need to be about a specific tourism-related topic? Are you assessing the effectiveness of a particular model, and must the datasets you seek accommodate that type of modeling? Perhaps we can give more specific guidance if we know more.

Generic sources include:

Hope this helps.


General Search Engines for Datasets

(Governmental) Open Data Portals

Many governments around the world have created "open data portals" which allow free access to machine-readable datasets generated by the public sector (e.g. by national statistical institutes). Check out, for instance

Data Repositories

For non-public datasets, you can always search for open "data repositories" such as Harvard Dataverse. You can find directories at:

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